Here we are in July 2021 and what have I been up to you may ask!?
What a strange time it's been for all of us. One minute we are in lockdown, then we think all is okay and then we enter a new phase of freedom, "pings"and isolation.
In February this year it all got a bit too much for me and finally I couldn't cope anymore and had to seek help from my GP for severe anxiety and subsequent high blood pressure. My body had gone in to state of nervous alert, even eating made my nerves alive. It was really horrid.
The GP got me onto some medication and a NHS programme, called " Talkworks" and I'm so thankful for that and to my homeopathic counsellor who put everything into perspective and another counsellor who talked me through how to cope with the anxiety symptoms with breathing techniques, tapping exercises and being kind to myself. It seems it was all brought on by my Mum's dementia and then her eventual passing away just before going into the pandemic last year.
Six months on, I'm sleeping well, feel a lot better and the days are brighter, the sky is more blue.
So many people have been affected in all sorts of ways by the whole situation, I know I'm not alone.
Face masks mean we can't see people's expressions, and why does it seem to affect your hearing? They also make me clumsy! Yes a small price to pay for safety I know. Most of us have a variety of face masks in every bag, every pocket, in the car and so on.
I've had my two jabs, all very well organised. Surprisingly, after worrying about what the side effects might be, I had only one day of feeling a bit under the weather and a sore arm for a week.
I also do love a hug, my whole family are huggers, so it's been difficult knowing how to greet your friends and seems rude not to shake hands. As humans, contact/ touch is so important to our health and well being.
My desire to do any artwork was severely halted when I felt so poorly. My creativity was satisfied by sewing, baking and gardening.
Yoga on You tube was a godsend and being able to FaceTime my close friends and family was my lifeline.
Walking in the countryside around here was also key to my recovery and I was fortunate to have company on occasions from special people, including my long suffering husband.
It's been a steep learning curve, you can't take good health for granted. Stress in the mind has such a powerful effect on physical well being. Small things have become so important, small steps, taking time to rest, being grateful, learning once again to take joy in simple things around me.
I'm back in the studio making art now at a slow pace, with no pressures. I've enjoyed doing some online courses and I've been happy to play and learn without worrying about a finished product. I've tried not to feel competitive or threatened by other's work on social media, but to be inspired by it and glad that they are able to produce such lovely work.
It has been hard to feel that I must take this year off to recover well and get my energy levels back up, but that is what I am doing and learning to politely say "no" to things which go against my gut feeling.
I still supply The Gallery at Avon Mill, Loddiswell with mugs, tea towels, cards, artwork, notebooks and so on and am so pleased they are able to be open for the summer and people feel comfortable to go there to shop.
Next year I'm planning some more workshops here at the studio [ not too many] and a few exhibitions. Over the summer break I intend to get out more to gather ideas and to have some projects to keep me focused during the autumn.
For now I'm going to enjoy watching the Olympics, I hope the participants know, that even though there are no supporters in the stadiums, lots of us are wishing them well from afar.
Enjoy the summer whatever you are able to do, take time out when you can, meditate, lie in the sun, deadhead the roses, pick fruit and vegetables [ if you are growing them], walk, swim and just sit sometimes.